Royal Victoria Square London

Space Type

A Modern Urban Square Location

The Royal Docks, adjacent to the Excel Centre, London.

Nearest Station: DLR Custom House

Award

Landscape Institute 2004

Description On the northern edge of Victoria Dock, this 1.6 ha site, conceived by London Docklands Development Corporation, was designed to provide a hub for leisure, business and residential developments and to connect with existing communities. The design evolved from the site's existing features such as the buildings, cranes and waterfront setting. A central lawn is bordered by a paved walkway. The canopy is punched through with names of ships that docked in the old basin. Materials reflect those used in past industrial times - steel, natural stone, concrete and timber. The fountains provide a ceremonial route to the Excel Centre and a play facility for children.

Judges' views "This understated scheme sets an inspirational benchmark for contemporary urban landscape design. The project has real presence, scale and attention to detail and geometry and represents the best integrated landscape design. The scheme is deceptively simple but compels users to engage with its routes, views and experiences. The combined effect of paving, structures, lighting and planting creates a memorable landscape that is forward looking, well-built and a highlight of the gritty dockland setting".

Designers EDAW, Aspen Burrow Crocker, Patel Taylor.

Comment This site may have been 7 years old when we saw it, but it appeared not to have achieved the use and status that was probably anticipated. Unfortunately when we viewed the space, the 'dancing fountains' were not working and there were no people to enliven it. This may be more to do with the context of the square as a forerunner to future surrounding development than the actual design. We also found that the space leaks out, it is not bound by built or natural elements and therefore the eye is drawn to the expanse of water and undeveloped spaces beyond.

Royal Victoria Square 15

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